I've always just been a little too big for things. A little too big for the airplane seats on JetBlue, a little too big for the desks at school, a little too big for the flat-chested shirts and dresses at Forever 21, and a little too big for overcrowded subway rides. Now, I am not overweight or unhealthy, but I am a 6-foot-tall college volleyball player with calves like tree trunks.
There's not much I can do to change that now, although I do Nike Training Club workouts every time I go to the gym. I suppose I could get smaller that way, but I like eating and I like the cherry Danish to go with my iced latte every once in a while. I've heard the horror stories of the Atkins Diet or the choices models make to stay skinny in the business.
Yet, there has always been a part of me that hates myself for it. I've had nights where I started trying on clothes to go out and felt so frustrated I had to literally throw them all back in the closet. For some reason the generation that came after mine seems to be perpetually skinny, which kills me; they didn't even have to work for it. But their body type isn't always a choice either, and I have to recognize that. I have the body type of my father, a 6-foot 2-inch Treebeard, and I worked towards the body I have today with countless runs, trips to the gym, and hours spent on volleyball courts in Reno, Las Vegas, Spokane, and Atlanta.
And then along came Tumblr, with its "fitspiration" and "thinspiration" blogs -- before all of my dashboard was body positivity and feminism and pictures of coffee and flannels. This was before I knew about Robin Lawley -- aren't most Australians great? -- and it was before I had role models. I would look at the pictures of nameless, faceless, girls with cut abs and Nike sports bras and think: Why can't that be me? I would look at the cover of Vogue and think the same thing. It sounds cheesy, but I wondered why it was easier for some girls than it was for others (despite knowing about factors like metabolism rate and calorie intake). In my freshman year of college I had an eating disorder as a result of all these factors.
When you try to reason out why not eating is sexy, nothing makes any sense. The only person who can really turn it around is yourself. Once you think about what you want and what you are willing to do, you will find the perfect weight and healthy mindset for yourself. In the end, being kind to yourself and fair is what seems to matter most. The worst parts of being a little too big are the thoughts that come with the body type. When I grew up no one told me to be happy with my body as is. No one let me have a choice, although I chose volleyball because I love it and when you look good in your new clothes it feels great. Kate Moss once said that, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," but I disagree. I think nothing feels as good as peace of mind, a point where you can say that you're happy. The first step toward finding that place is helping yourself let go of negativity, of jealousy, and of frustration. The first step is being honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be and believing that you can do what you set your mind to. Over-analyze and get in your head in a positive way; there are much more important things than body weight and physical appearance, but the way you see yourself and your own confidence is very important and shapes you as a human being.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.
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